Saturday September 30, 2023

Completion of Fort Picture Wall

By our correspondents
July 15, 2016


To mark the completion of the documentation, presentation and promotion of the western section of the Lahore Fort Picture Wall, the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP) organised a workshop at the fort in which the discoveries made during the project were shared with various stakeholders for feedback and discussion. 

Participants included technical representatives from the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), the Punjab Department of Archaeology and the AKCSP team, officials said, adding that in September 2015, AKCSP began the documentation of the Picture Wall with financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and facilitated by WCLA. 

They said established as the world’s largest mural, the 1450’x50’ Picture Wall was exquisitely decorated with glazed tile and faience mosaics, embellished brickwork, filigree work and frescos during the Mughal period in the reign of Jahangir in 1624 AD and completed under Shah Jahan’s reign in 1632 AD; these unique elements became the principal reason for the Lahore Fort being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

The workshop began with a comprehensive introduction to the project by project head Wajahat Ali, manager, conservation and design, AKCSP. Individual presentations covered the architectural documentation of the 350’x50’ western section of the Picture Wall, using electronic distance measurement devices, high resolution rectified photography and 3-D laser scanning, the geo-technical and structural analysis of the wall and its supporting structures, and a detailed material analysis and authentic fabrication of the glazed tile mosaics.  Material specialist Talib Hussain (Aga Khan Award for Architecture 1983) also gave an account of the history of interventions on the wall, and historian Dr Nadhra Khan (LUMS) presented interpretation of the imagery and iconography depicted in the mosaics.  The overarching significance of the workshop and the project, however, was the strong partnership and collaboration that continues to grow between AKCSP, Walled City of Lahore Authority and the Punjab Department of Archaeology. AKCSP CEO Salman Beg highlighted that the success of the conservation of the Shahi Hammam and the Gali Surjan Singh resulting from this partnership introduced international standards of conservation from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva to the Walled City of Lahore – an unrivalled concentration of Mughal Heritage in the world. 

Walled City of Lahore Authority DG Kamran Lashari also spoke of the merits of the partnership, which has resulted in a rare mix of young and more experienced professionals, as well as a gender balance that cannot be matched by other government institutions.